Kiosk Newsbit

(Arizona Republic; 06/04/98)

 You've got a pager and a cell phone but you still feel out of touch when you 
go shopping. Maybe you should zip off an e-mail or hop online for a few 

   Shoppers who want to browse the Internet between browsing the stores can do 
so at two Westcor malls. Computer terminals have been installed at Arrowhead 
Towne Center in Glendale and Metrocenter in Phoenix in a partnership between 
Westcor and US West.

   The kiosks offers some free informational services, but a fee is charged for 
others. Shoppers swipe a credit card through a reader and their online time is 
calculated by the service, described as "a pay phone for the Internet."

   Westcor is developing joint sponsorship programs with companies interested 
in promoting themselves in the developer's malls. Julie LaBenz, Westcor's 
director of sponsorship, said the kiosks, or smaller Internet hookups that 
would allow for several installations, will go into all Westcor malls.

   LaBenz said technology has become so important that people want to be in 
touch all the time, whether they're looking for information, sending messages, 
or checking in with the office. Youngsters have used the kiosks to play games, 
and LaBenz said the devices let older people with fewer computer skills give 
the Internet a try.

   "They're always busy," she said of the kiosks.

   The kiosks connect with the Internet via an Integrated Services Digital 
Network line that US West said is up to 10 times faster than conventional 
Internet access. Access is screened to ensure children can't connect to sites 
their parents might find objectionable.

   The kiosks are made by a San Diego company and installed as part of US 
West's Public Access Solutions & Smart Card division. The interface is menu-
driven and the kiosk uses a flat-pad mouse similar to those in some laptop 

   LaBenz said the kiosks eventually could connect to a business center in 
Westcor's malls so shoppers can make printouts of data and perform other 


   Vestar Development Co. is still weeks away from starting work on its Mesa 
Grand power center but is already looking at a second phase for the project 
near Stapley Drive and the Superstition Freeway.

   Construction on the first phase is scheduled to start in midsummer with an 
opening in November 1999. AMC Theatres is planning a 112,000-square-foot 
theater complex with 30 screens at the center, and Vestar has space for two 
15,000-square-foot shops and some smaller sites.

   Chili's and Tony Roma's are among the restaurants planned for the project.

   The second phase could add about 300,000 square feet of retail, with space 
set aside for a 125,000-square-foot anchor. Vestar Vice President David Larcher 
said the big anchor slot might be a home improvement center.

   Larcher likes the retail potential in east Mesa, especially for casual 
restaurants that would complement the movie complex.

   "From an entertainment and restaurant standpoint, we've got a fairly unique 
opportunity because that site serves all of Gilbert and all of Mesa, given its 
location between Fiesta (mall) and Superstition Springs (center)," he said.


   Designer Tommy Hilfiger has opened his first factory outlet store in Arizona 
at the Oak Creek Factory Outlets in Sedona.

   The 3,500-square-foot store carries mainly sportswear and some dressy 
apparel for men. However, there are items for women as well, including the 
Tommy Girl fragrance line.

   The outlet mall is owned by the same Baltimore real estate investment trust 
that built the Arizona Factory Shops near new river.


   SkyMall Inc. and Catalog City Inc. have signed a deal to jointly market 
their merchandise.

   Phoenix-based SkyMall, an in-flight catalog retailer, and California-based 
Catalog City say the marketing effort will be launched on the World Wide Web, 
with each company featuring the other on its Web page.


   Shopping for a new washing machine and looking for someone to give you the 
lowdown on what to buy?

   That old standby, Consumer Reports, has a site at www.con that offers lots of free information, such as the current 
list of tips on how to pick an air conditioner or find hotel bargains.

   You also can subscribe to the site for $2.95 a month or $24 a year and 
receive everything from the magazine and expanded site access. Glen Creno can 
be reached at 444-8972 or at [email protected] via e-mail.

Thanks Kinetic!

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